Players in League 1&2 have voted overwhelmingly to finish the 2020/21 season.
We surveyed the players last week for their thoughts and opinions on returning to training and playing and the results were very clear – the vast majority are desperate to get back on the pitch.
They were asked:
Are you happy/comfortable to return to playing despite the current lockdown restrictions?
(2% no opinion)
Are you happy to return to playing:
ONLY WITH TESTING 32%
WITHOUT TESTING 68%
Despite their eagerness to get back to playing, there were some issues raised by the players including travel (particularly in League 2), concerns about picking up injuries after a two month lay-off and fitting in work commitments around any new fixture schedule.
These issues, along with the overall results, were sent and highlighted to the Joint Response Group as well as all League 1&2 club chairman and secretaries ahead of meetings to decide the fate of the lower leagues.
Fraser Wishart, PFA Scotland Chief Executive, said: “It is clear from the results of the survey that our members want to get out there playing as soon as possible. Yesterday’s announcement from the First Minister that there could be an immediate return to training for Leagues 1&2 as well as the Women’s Premier 1 was widely welcomed by our members.
“We are delighted they finally have some positive news, but we would also urge caution around player welfare from the governing bodies and clubs when it comes to the rescheduled match calendar. After a two month lay-off the players will need adequate time to prepare for the rigors of playing again – match fitness is different to general fitness. There has been mention of four games in a week and that is wholly unacceptable from a wellbeing point of view.
“It was an issue raised by players through the survey along with travel – particularly in League 2 – and the balancing of other work commitments with part-time football. As employers, clubs must also be sympathetic to any player who is uncomfortable going back to train or play, whether that be for personal or work reasons, as many are still living with restrictions that affect their lives outside of football.
“These are all areas which must be looked at and players concerns considered and properly addressed.”